FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8060
February 2, 2021

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense Against Cryptocurrency Scams

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense against virtual currency scams.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has reported several tips coming in recently from Oregonians who are receiving threatening messages from people demanding digital currency. To date, we don’t know of anyone who has lost money in this fraud, but we want to make sure that everyone is on the watch for this particular scam.

The targeted victim receives an email from a person or group alleging that the victim committed some crime that involved the theft of virtual funds from the scammer. The bad actor makes a series of threats demanding the victim pay him back. The scammer provides a cryptocurrency address for the victim to use.

The bad actor says he will show up at the victim’s home if payment isn’t made. He says he has photos to prove the victim is a criminal, and he threatens that there are multiple members of his group, so trying to block him won’t work.

The message includes language such as “You have no chance” and “we will increase the pressure on you day by day.”

Here are some ways to protect yourself:

  • Don’t respond to such messages or engage with the scammer.
  • Check your most important accounts—such as email, bank, and credit card accounts—to ensure there is no unauthorized activity.
  • Update all passwords, making them complex and unique for each account.
  • If you feel physically threatened, make a report to your local police department.

If you believe you are a victim of an online scam, you should report the incident to the FBI’s Internet Crime Center at www.ic3.gov or call your FBI local office.